Sinharaja Forest Reserve
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park and a biodiveristy hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere reserve and World heritage site by UNESCO.
The hilly virgin rainforest was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility, and was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988. The reserve's name translates as Kingdom of the Lion.
The reserve is 21 km (13 mi) from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km (4.3 mi) from north to south and it is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
There are about 3 elephants and about 15 leopards. The most common larger mammal is the endemic purple-face langur. Keep your eyes open and try to spot them through the dense vegetation.
Of Sri Lanka's 26 endemic birds, the 20 rainforest species all occur here, including the elusive red-faced malkoha, green-billed coucal and Sri lanka blue magpie. An interesting phenomenon is that birds tend to move in mixed species feeding flock, invariably led by the fearless greeter racket-tailed drongo and the noisy orange-billed babbler.
Reptiles include the endemic green pit vipers and hump-nosed vipers, and there are a large variety of amphibians, especially tree frogs. Invertebrates include the endemic common birding butterflies and the inevitable leeches.
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